Guy Benson
By US Senate standards, Republican Leader Mitch McConnell's message at the Heritage Foundation today was downright impolitic in its directness:

"Over the past week, some have said it was indelicate of me to suggest that our top political priority over the next two years should be to deny President Obama a second term in office.  But the fact is, if our primary legislative goals are to repeal and replace the health spending bill; to end the bailouts; cut spending; and shrink the size and scope of government, the only way to do all these things it is to put someone in the White House who won’t veto any of these things. 

We can hope the President will start listening to the electorate after Tuesday’s election. But we can’t plan on it.  And it would be foolish to expect that Republicans will be able to completely reverse the damage Democrats have done as long as a Democrat holds the veto pen."

McConnell signaled that the Senate GOP caucus -- which will likely stand at 47 in number -- will "repeatedly" force votes on efforts to repeal, change, defund, and replace the new healthcare legislation:

"On health care...we can — and should — propose and vote on straight repeal, repeatedly. But we can’t expect the president to sign it. So we’ll also have to work, in the House, on denying funds for implementation, and, in the Senate, on votes against its most egregious provisions. At the same time, we’ll need to continue educating the public about the ill-effects of this bill on individuals young and old, families, and small businesses.

And this is why oversight will play a crucial role in Republican efforts going forward.

We may not be able to bring about straight repeal in the next two years, and we may not win every vote against targeted provisions, even though we should have bipartisan support for some. But we can compel administration officials to attempt to defend this indefensible health spending bill and other costly, government-driven measures, like the Stimulus and financial reform."


McConnell also vowed to use hold the line on taxes and exercise "smart, aggressive oversight" of the White House:

"On the economy, we will work hard to ensure Democrats don’t raise taxes on anybody, especially in the middle of a recession. We will loudly oppose future stimulus bills that only stimulate the deficit and fight any further job-killing regulations. We will fight tooth and nail on behalf of Americans struggling to find and create jobs.

And when it comes to educating the public about the effects of Democrat legislation, we will fulfill our constitutional duty to oversee the Executive Branch through smart, aggressive oversight."

McConnell also acknowledged the obvious: That voters didn't exactly embrace Republicanism on Tuesday; they rejected the excesses of unchecked Democratic rule:

"The voters didn’t suddenly fall in love with Republicans; they fell out of love with Democrats. And while they may have voted to send more Republicans to Washington, they’re sending them here with clear marching orders: stop the big-government freight train and respect the will of the people who sent you there.

As Churchill once observed, 'Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; [and] courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.' And I can’t think of a better way to sum up Tuesday’s election than that."


It's encouraging to see that although the president and his administration are obstinately refusing to analyze Tuesday's overwhelming results in a clear-eyed manner, Republican leadership isn't making the same mistake.  It's also a positive sign that leaders McConnell and Boehner seem to understand that the conservatives that fueled this week's GOP wave have expectations, and that a failure to address those expectations would be unacceptable and politically costly.  McConnell's indication that his conference is prepared to do what it can to halt and reverse Obamacare is a promising start.

Sen. McConnell's full remarks can be accessed HERE.


Guy Benson

Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Senior Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson.

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography